Baumkuchen - such a cool word to say, and an even cooler cake to eat. Those of you not familiar with it, the word means “tree cake” in German, and it’s called that because of the thin layers of cake that are coiled onto one another similar to the rings of a tree. This cake is obviously German, but the Japanese make a version of this in their bakeries as well.
(Photo from yumarama.com)
I once saw how the baumkuchen was made on tv and was completely blown away. They actually make the cake on a spit…very similar to a spit roast for meat! The machine is situated horizontally and there is a fire or heating element on one side. As the spit spins, the cake makers spoon cake batter across the spit. Then as the spit spins, the layer of cake cooks, and you go ahead and spoon on another layer. Do that a bunch of times and you get layers and layers of a fluffy sponge-like cake, which is flavor packed because every layer has gotten a chance to caramelize from the fire.
(Courtesy of http://www.bakeryinfo.co.uk/)
In that I didn’t own a baumkuchen spit myself, I watched a really great Baumkuchen YouTube Video on how to recreate this cake at home. Essentially, it just takes a cake pan, some batter, and your oven broiler…and oh yea, a TON of patience because you basically take the cake in and out of the oven broiler over and over again to create those layers of the baumkuchen. There are only about 10 layers to this cake, but if you had the time and patience, you could do more and it makes a pretty impressive presentation when you cut into it. (Note: I did do mine slightly differently from the one in the video. Mine is more crepe-like in texture, while his is more cake-like. The difference is just that he whipped his eggs until they thickened before adding it to everything else.)
I thought this cake would be the perfect candidate for a green tea ganache being that it IS a tree cake…and well, green tea is green and…well, you get where I’m going. But also, the rich deep flavor of green tea blends really well with the simple, caramelized vanilla cake layers.
Tips - well, you need to be patient because you will be standing next to the oven for a good 30 minutes or more, so have some music on or bring something light to peruse through (since you will be stopping every 3 minutes or so to take the cake out.) Second thing would be that sometimes, the broilers on home ovens don’t heat evenly. So, it may be necessary to rotate and spin your pan around during baking to make sure the entire cake layer is caramelized and cooked through. It takes about 2-4 minutes for each layer depending on your oven, so it maybe worth doing an initial test layer just to see how quickly your oven caramelizes the layers.
####1. Pre-heat oven to broiler setting or 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
####2. On medium to medium-high heat, brown the butter. Set aside to cool slightly.
####3. In a bowl, mix all the wet ingredients and sugar together for the cake batter.
####3. Add in flour. Set batter aside.
####4. Butter and parchment an 8-inch round pan.
####5. Using a large spoon, pour about one tenth of the batter into the pan.
####5. Put into broiler for about 2-4 minutes minutes. If caramelization is uneven, spin pan and leave it in for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.
####Example of Uneven Caramelization
####6. Repeat until batter is used up. Then set cake aside on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
####7. Meanwhile, bring cream for ganache to a boil and pour immediately onto chocolate. Whisk until smooth and add green tea powder. Whisk again until everything is incorporated.
####8. Put a sheet pan under cake to catch the ganache and pour ganache over cake. A spatula can be used to spread the layer evenly.
####Green Tea Baumkuchen
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown butter
- 1/2 cup cake flour
Green Tea Ganache:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 oz. white chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon green tea powder